Well it had to happen. I spoke to the new allotmenteer yesterday and she told me that my favourite shed was about to be demolished. I begged one final photo before this aged example of of the genre disappeared – I had hoped that it would be allowed to continue its slow collapse unaided so I could carry on taking photos, maybe make a silent documentary, but it was not to be. Farewell old friend, but don’t worry about me – I’ve found another one already.
I think I might be a bit of a perfectionist. I had three hours on the allotment this morning while Madame cultured the cold I was good enough to share with her last week, and so I took this photo of the bed I dug today so I could show her when I got back to the flat. But what do I see when I put it on the screen? Any sensible person might have paid attention to the neat bed and its readiness for planting up in the spring. All I could see was the tiny bit of couch root at the bottom left hand corner that I’d managed to overlook. Pefectionism is a blight and it’s often accompanied by being unable to choose between several almost identical course of action. Should I drive the pegs for the boards into the paths or the beds? There’s much to be said for either course of action and I’ve wasted hours wondering about it.
Madame takes a more laid-back view of things and is quite happy to snooze on the little patio I made, while I pace up and down worrying. Today I made up my mind I was going to do something about it. I’d rather be like Terry up at the top, who spends as much time sitting in his shed drinking coffee as he does actually doing things. In fact our shed has turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Since it got so full of – things – it’s impossible even to step into it, but I made a flask of tea and resolved that I would take a break now and again just to contemplate the fruits of our labours and dream of next season. Three hours later Madame rang me on the mobile and asked if I’d enjoyed the flask. Well actually I’d completely forgotten about it and then I felt embarassed at being so lame about taking a break so I put the tools away, since I’d finished all I wanted to do, and perched on a kneeler drinking the tea in a penetrating wind and feeling that I ought to be experiencing a lot more pleasure than I was actually having. I seem to lack the zen like gift of contemplation that seizes nearly everyone else on the site. So then I picked leeks, parsley and Brussels sprouts for supper tonight and came back to the flat.
I mentioned a few days ago how sometimes trying to be as self-sufficient as possible can become a burden, but to be honest the real burden is beating yourself up over things that don’t matter all that much. Often, when I’m in that frame of mind I make stock. It may sound weird but there’s something very comforting in making the ultimate comfort food. The fridge feels empty if I haven’t got a couple of pints of home made chicken stock ready to add its pixie dust to the everyday. Chicken soup is – like the joke – an antibiotic for all faiths and none. It’s hard to imagine not feeling better after a bowl of it. Today I was using up the remains of the last stock chicken to make a chicken and leek pie sauced in a velouté enriched by stock and cream. Yes they ought to make it illegal but they haven’t yet so tonight Madame will be raised from her lethargy and will feel immediately better.